More Questions from Citizens

by John Washington on August 9, 2012

Dear Scottsdale Neighbors,

Thanks for your inquiry and the opportunity to answer your questions.

Sorry for the delay in responding. The inbox is stacking up. With the election only three weeks away I’m almost constantly in motion between events. As a grassroots candidate, there’s never enough time (or money) to cover all the bases, but I’m trying!

I assume from the general nature of your questions that you may have emailed the same questions to candidates at all levels of government. To that end,

  • I have personal opinions on all these matters, and will gladly discuss them to help you understand who I am and what I stand for.
  • I respect the will of the citizens on these matters, and believe that my support derives from the alignment of the citizens’ will and my opinions.
  • My opinions won’t always align with the citizens, but I’ll always do my best to respect their wishes and balance against my beliefs.
  • Most importantly for purposes of my campaign, as a candidate for city office I won’t have much practical ability to affect some of these. In order to give you the most targeted and useful information, I’ll tailor my answers to the local election issues.

I would also point you to the 250+ articles I’ve published on my website, www.ScottsdaleTrails.com, many of which pertain to the underlying principles of your questions. My campaign website is www.ScottsdaleCitizen.com, where you will find a lot of good, focused information on campaign issues.

Meanwhile, I’ll do my best to address your questions. Please feel free to ask for clarification if my answers are insufficient.

1. Which do you support to stimulate the economy?  Government spending or reducing taxes?

On a local level, we’ve done a pretty good job of keeping taxes low. I think we can do better by CUTTING government spending, particularly taxpayer subsidies to private businesses. Just in the last couple of months Mayor Jim Lane and the Scottsdale City Council voted to renew the annual $4 million subsidy to the Scottsdale Cultural Council, part of a 20-year, no-bid contract, that has ZERO performance measures. They approved a $2 million payment to golf celebrity Phil Mickelson for a new clubhouse at McDowell Mountain Golf. And they gave $75,000 to a private entity to promote a polo match.

Now, Jim will tell you that he has good reasons for all of these subsidies and even perhaps that they aren’t subsidies at all. However, the fact remains that the money comes from the taxpayers and it is going to private businesses, plain and simple.

And as much as Jim has been aggravated by me pointing it out, our budget this year is $7 million more than last year, includes and $8 million deficit (which he and the council have ‘balanced’ by drawing down reserves), and our total debt is north of $1.3 BILLION.

2. What changes, if any, do we need in gun control laws?

Frankly, I haven’t given this much thought as it pertains to the City of Scottsdale. I do not believe that there have been many issues raised with regard to application of current regulations within the city, which obviously flow from the State, for the most part.

3. Should the new healthcare law be retained, repealed or replaced?

Again, my focus has been on Scottsdale-specific issues, which, as a Scottsdale taxpayer, is probably what you want from your city officials.

However, my wife is in healthcare, having been an EMT in the Air National Guard and now a process engineer for an internationally-known healthcare company. My mother is a retired Registered Nurse, and my sister is a pediatric trauma physician.

So, I do have some thoughts on the healthcare law and would be happy to discuss them further, perhaps at a later date if that is OK.

4. If elected, will you strive for bipartisanship or to defeat the opposing party?

Scottsdale city elections are non-partisan, by city charter (which is in essence, our ‘constitution’). I think the founding fathers of Scottsdale were wise in that constraint, because many of the issues we face as a city have relatively little to do with partisan platforms.

Ironically, Mayor Lane is a Republican, as are all the current members of the council. Yet, they continue to approve taxpayer subsidies to private businesses, and commit many other violations of conservative principles. Mayor Lane’s previous campaign contained a strong thread of partisan identification in order to help defeat former Mayor Manross, a Democrat.

We (the city) can thank Republican state legislators for neutering Scottsdale’s decades’ old sign ordinance and giving us renewed political sign blight. The same folks are also to thank for forcing the city to hold our elections in the fall rather than our charter-mandated spring elections. Thus, partisan politics becomes a de facto element of city elections, to the detriment of citizen concerns and municipal issues.

I hope this helps you understand a little more about me and what I intend to accomplish as Mayor of Scottsdale.

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